Monday 16 September 2019

Much-loved: Former 'Glenroe' star Farmer dies aged 81

Joe Lynch as Dinny Byrne and Donall Farmer as Fr Tim Devereux in RTE series Glenroe
Joe Lynch as Dinny Byrne and Donall Farmer as Fr Tim Devereux in RTE series Glenroe
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

Actor and impersonator Mario Rosenstock has led tributes to Dónall Farmer, who has died aged 81.

Rosenstock worked alongside the actor and director in RTÉ's long-running rural soap 'Glenroe', playing Dr David Hanlon alongside Farmer's long-established and much-loved character Fr Tim Devereux.

"Dónall was just a fantastic mentor to me when I first appeared on the show," he told the Irish Independent.

"He was one of those people who had so much experience in acting and directing that it would be a privilege just to sit back and observe this pro at work. Observing him and Joe Lynch ['Glenroe's Dinny Byrne] play out their roles was like watching two professional boxers work out together - it was very educational."

Rosenstock added that Dónall's gentle nature and dry wit was something that he would always treasure.

But a certain episode of 'Glenroe' involving a greyhound will always be something that the comedian will never forget.

"I still laugh about the episode where the dog, owned by Dónall, is knocked up by the wrong breed due to a mistake by Joe Lynch.

"Dónall suspects something is very wrong, but Joe decides to go to confession knowing full well that the priest can't do anything when he tells him.

"The whole scene was brilliantly put together and no one could have done it better than Joe."

After graduating from UCC in English and Irish, Mr Farmer joined RTÉ in 1964 and was sent to the BBC for training as a producer/director, and went on to direct 50 episodes of 'The Riordans' before being appointed head of drama at RTÉ in 1971.

As an actor, he starred in many plays and TV roles, including 'Ballykissangel' and 'Remington Steele' and he twice won a Jacobs Radio and Television Award.

Mr Farmer, who was originally from Blackpool, Co Cork, was a former member of the Abbey Theatre and he helped found the Everyman Theatre in his native city.

He is survived by his wife Eileen and children Orla, Catherine and Dónall.

Irish Independent

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